A poll we conducted prior to the referendum revealed that only 32 per cent of the oil and gas workforce would have voted to remain. That said, this result could create additional uncertainty for North Sea and European operators, particularly around the need to source and mobilise talent for projects in and around the EU.
Market instability may also lead to a reluctance from international operators to invest into exploration projects or delay projects that are already planned, as they wait to see the impact of Brexit. This instability may also have a negative impact on investment into other UK and European nuclear and clean energy projects.
The extent to which North Sea talent will be affected is undetermined. However, the EU does provide security in relation to safety directives and it will be imperative that the UK delivers equal measures for hazardous industries.
It is possible that salaries will be negatively affected as a result of a volatile sterling while the UK negotiates its exit from the EU. This could have the biggest impact on UK expats paid in sterling, whose cost of living could increase. As a result, these individuals may decide that being remunerated in another currency such as US dollars offers more stability.
Some EU nationals could be left without the right to work in the UK – in which case they would need to apply for work permits and visas which may be governed by the points-based system currently in place for non-EU nationals. In addition, the personal finances of the three million EU nationals that live and work in the UK will be affected as they could be more exposed to currency fluctuations meaning their salaries won't go as far when they travel home, leading to them look to work in other locations and a “brain drain”.
Working in the EU could also become difficult for UK expats, no matter what industry they are in, if host countries start asking them to comply with more restrictive rules relating to work permits. If UK expats do lose their right to work within the EU, they may be asked to apply for a Blue Card – a residence permit for skilled non-EU/EEA nationals. They will prevent the quick movement of essential skills and could enable UK nationals to appear less attractive.
Leaving the EU could ultimately signal a more prosperous future for the UK North Sea. Norway, a key player in the energy industry, already exists successfully outside of the EU and now it’s the UK’s time to carve out its own future.
Join the Conversation: How will Brexit impact oil and gas professionals? Share your views below.
To discuss the future of the global gas market, attend Gastech 2017. If you are interested in speaking at the Gastech Conference, submit your abstract. The Call for Papers is open.
More on Brexit:
Sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.